A new wine bar with over 50 French wines has opened in Edinburgh’s West End.
Bar á Vin is the new venture of L’escargot Blanc chef Fred Berkmiller who has added to Edinburgh’s French food offerings by opening the wine and cheese bar.
The all-French wine list has over 50 wines by the glass with malbecs from Comte Tolosan to chardonnays from Burgundy and chenin blancs from the Loire valley.
A cheese and meats menu has been created by the chef to complement the wines, with a weekly-changing menu of around 20 cheeses and 20 charcuteries such as cured sausage from the Pyrénées and Andouille smoked sausage from Guéméné.
Building on the same ethos as L’escargot Blanc, the new wine bar has a mix of French and Scottish produce with some interesting additions such as almonds rolled in chocolate with chilli and sardines from Brittany, foods Fred says have all been picked to pair with the French wine list.
“Charcuterie has become quite fashionable again in the UK and Scotland is producing some good charcuterie,” Fred said.
“In the restaurant, we mix up the French cuisine with Scottish ingredients so why not mix up [French and Scottish] cheeses and charcuteries?
“We have a fantastic Isle Mull Cheddar. And we have Lanark Blue.
"For French cheeses, we have Beaufort and Chavignol. And we have Camembert of course.
"And we turn over our cheese on a weekly basis so the cheese is never the same."
Fred and his wife Betty opened L’escargot Blanc in 2001, with sister restaurant L’escargot Bleu launching eight years later.
Planning permission was granted in March 2015 to extend the restaurant into the next door former barber shop and create the wine bar in the basement level of the Queensferry Street premises.
Recently opening the doors after the renovation, Fred says the response to the bar has been positive.
“France is extremely rich in charcuterie and cheese and I think there was something missing because there are very few places you can go and enjoy some regional artisan cheese,” Fred said.
“I think people love the idea of sharing a glass of wine over a plate of cheese."